By Erin Ross
Feeling Crabby? For over 100 years, Joe’s has been the best catch in this town.
When I was a kid growing up in Miami Beach, Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant consisted of one
main dining room, and a small bar with a few stools, located on the corner of Washington
Avenue and South Point Drive in South Beach, essentially a ghost town back then.
We would gratefully stand in line for two hours (no reservations) for a table to celebrate birthdays, graduations, holidays, etc. If only those walls could talk....
Things haven’t changed much. It remains my all time favourite, however, these days
Joe’s not only corners the market but the entire block with a bigger dining room
and a couple of other smaller rooms.
There’s also a plush, dark wood bar, an outdoor patio, and a gourmet “take away” market so you can get your hands on those claws without waiting.
This time, I was excited to take Oliver, who is one of the owners of Secret Food Tours, to Joe’s for his first crack at Stone Crabs. I purposely chose 6pm on a Tuesday to avoid the inevitable wait, so we were greeted and seated immediately.
The server arrived within seconds to explain the menu while the busboy placed waters and the traditional assorted bread basket. Service is a well-oiled machine at Joe’s.
Since this was not my first rodeo, I ordered for both of us. The claws come
in different sizes and prices depending on availability. I opted for two orders of the
“selects” ($42.95 for six claws) which are between medium and large.
For sides, which are almost as beloved as the crabs, I chose grilled tomatoes ($8.50) and brussel sprouts ($11.95). They come family style so there was plenty for the two of us. Oli was surprised to
find that the claws are boiled but are actually served chilled.
I showed him how to peel the shell and pull out the meat, which you can do with your fingers, a cocktail fork or your teeth, all of which are considered correct etiquette.
While Joe’s famous mustard sauce is a must for me, Oli preferred to enjoy them bare with a bit of lemon so as to truly savour the taste of the actual crab.
After our main course, we decided to go decadent and opt for dessert. Joe’s is also famous for
Key Lime Pie, the only dessert I have ever ordered, but Oli suggested we go rogue
and try the apple pie ($8.95). It was a delightful, homestyle pie with a crumble topping,
slightly burnt and reminiscent of the kind grandma used to make.
Oli being the proper Brit also drank a cup of English Breakfast tea, which he said was a very good quality (and he would know!).
Our dinner at Joe’s was everything. The stone crabs were fresh, properly cracked, and at
Joe’s the meat never sticks to the shell.
Although the infamous, indigenous delicacy is definitely the star of the show, Joe’s sides are superb as well. The grilled tomatoes covered with creamed spinach and American cheese are arguably the most popular, and Oli said the Brussels sprouts were the best he had ever tasted.
The hot apple pie came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side and was big enough for two. Put Joe’s on your itinerary and you won’t regret it. Even if you wait 2 hours!!
With most portions big enough for two, expect to spend around $150 to $200 for a couple.
Hours of Operation:
Sun -Thurs 5pm-10pm
Fri and Sat 5pm-11pm
11 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, Fl. 33139